Playing Death Worm makes us feel like Bill Murray waking up to Sonny & Cher’s ‘I Got You Babe’ in Groundhog Day. There’s a sense of deja vu: Haven’t we played this game before?
Indeed we have, in the form of Super Mega Worm. Flash games provide the roots for both iPhone games: Death Worm is based on Deathworm and Super Mega Worm is based on Effing Worms. Suffice it to say that the iPhone games are leagues better than their Flash counterparts, so the big question is which one deserves your buck?
First off, these games are much more similar than they are different. In both games, you play as a worm whose goal is to devour or destroy everything you find, be it animal, human, or vehicle. Both use Game Center to track your high scores, and both are very friendly to the casual player, with simple controls and mindless fun at the forefront.
Super mega jump!
Death Worm is goal-based. To gain levels, you have to do things like get 60 kills, or get 30 kills without taking damage. This becomes tricky once trigger happy cops and military dudes start peppering you with bullets the moment your head pops out of the ground, but it adds a thin layer of originality to the proceedings.
With each level you gain, you get to upgrade your worm by making it longer, faster, tougher, or more able to squeeze the juice out of power-ups. There are two kinds of power-ups: speed boosts and fireballs. Unfortunately, you have to grab three of the same power-up to use it, and the effects are fairly short-lived, at least at first. This is a pain, because Super Mega Worm got us used to being able to speed up and shoot fireballs at our leisure.
The graphics are also great, particularly if you have a Retina display device. They’re blindingly detailed, with silky smooth animation. And unlike its competition, in Death Worm you can unlock two additional environments. Since each arena is the same size, these are mostly cosmetic changes, but we appreciate the change of scenery.
Taking it to the streets.
Unfortunately, to pack in all that visual flair, they’ve made the humans and animals you have to eat extremely tiny. We had to play with the screen just inches from our eyes in order to find our food. And when you get a speed boost the camera pulls back even further, making you wish for a microscope to play the game.
As icing on this worm cake, a fun little minigame is included as well. Like Canabalt, it’s a high score game that moves you forward automatically and has you dodge obstacles to stay alive. We should also note that the developers promise more minigames and levels in the future.
So which is better, Super Mega Worm or Death Worm? It’s a close call, but we have to go with Super Mega Worm. It’s a universal app, it’s hilarious, it has to-die-for retro graphics. You also have unlimited boosts and fireballs, which is always nice. However, if there’s room on your iDevice for two games about colossal worms hellbent on creating mayhem, be sure to pick up Death Worm as well.